What began as a wedding party has now grown into one of the major festival celebrations in the world! What is it? Why, Oktoberfest, of course! What better time to bring a taste of Munich and Bavaria to your table!

You don’t have to yodel and get out the Lederhosen to get in the mood for some hearty German fare, and if you have never tried your hand at cooking up some German dishes, maybe the recipes this week will give you some ideas.

German food is flavorful and hearty, and the house smells wonderful while it is cooking. I quickly ran out of room this week, but happy cooking and Guten Appetit!

Grace’s Vermont Apple Pie

Richard’s Note: Germans would love this apple pie as they love to cook with apples and add them to many dishes! Oddly, pies of this sort are not very common in Germany. “Pie” seems to be more of an English and American thing! This recipe came from a computer sales person. Can you guess which brand?!

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. very cold butter

Grated rind 1/2 lemon

2 eggs

2 Tbs. ice water

Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small bits and add to flour mixture. Using your fingers, cut in the butter until it has the texture of coarse cornmeal. Add the lemon rind. Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Beat the yolks with the water and add to the mixture, stirring quickly with a fork. Gather the dough into a ball and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

8 to 12 McIntosh apples

1 Tbs. butter

1/2 cut brown sugar

1 Tbs. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

Take one quarter of the dough and put it back in the refrigerator. The remaining piece will be the bottom crust. Roll out the crust between two pieces of wax paper. The crust should be as round as possible and should fit into the pie plate with the edges hanging over. Carefully peel the wax paper off one side and lightly lay the paper back on. Flip the dough over and carefully peel the wax paper off this side. Place in the pie plate and carefully peel off the remaining paper. Fit the dough into the plate and cut off any extra from the edges. Preheat the oven to 400°. Pare the apples and cut them into thick slices. One apple should yield only about eight to 10 slices. Place the sliced apples into the crust. Dot the top with the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar, flower and cinnamon over the top. Set aside. Roll out the remaining dough between two new pieces of wax paper. Make this piece as square as possible. Peel the paper off s with the bottom crust. Use a fork to flatten the edges. Brush the top of the pie with the leftover egg white and sprinkle lightly with some sugar. Place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Watch the pie for the last five minutes. It may need a little more or less time. depending on your oven. When it is evenly browned, remove and cool before slicing. Strictly McIntosh, strictly the best!

Easy Black Forest Torte

Note: While not the classic Black Forest Cherry cake from Germany’s Black Forest, this is a nice treat nonetheless!

5 cups miniature marshmallows

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix

1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling

1 (8 oz.) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

Sprinkle the marshmallows in a greased 13x19 pan. Prepare cake batter according to the package directions. Pour over the marshmallows. Spoon the pie filling on top of the batter. Bake at 350° for approximately 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool. Frost with the whipped topping. Store in the refrigerator.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs. red potatoes

1/4 lb. butter, melted

3 Tbs. prepared horseradishes

1 & 1/2 cup Half and Half, hot

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Scrub potatoes. Place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water. Cook on medium-high heat. Cook until tender, about 40 minutes. Once tender, remove from heat and drain well. Place potatoes in a large bowl with the salt, pepper, horseradish and butter. Mash well. Using a hand mixer or a whip, incorporate the half and half. Beat until fluffy.

Luxembourg Carrots

6 to 8 carrots, sliced

3 Tbs. onion, sliced (green, white or red)

Boil carrots until crisp tender. Drain. Add onion and marinate for several hours.

Marinade:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. sugar

In a bowl, combine ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Add carrots and onion. Can be served hot, room temperature or chilled and as a vegetable or salad. Stir before serving.

Kasespatzle (Cheese Noodles)

3 Tbs. butter or margarine

3 medium onions, sliced in small rings

3 oz. Swiss cheese, grated

1 tsp. dry mustard

2 cups noodles

2 Tbs. chives, chopped

Heat butter in fry pan, add onions, and brown lightly. Toss cheese with dry mustard. Add cooked noodles to cooked onions and cheese; mixm well. Place mixture in an ovenproof casserole. Bake at 300° for 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle top with chopped chives before serving. Yields four servings.

Spreewälder Sauerbraten

Note: Sauerbraten is a marinated beef roast with a pungent sweet-sour taste, and it is unbelievably delicious! There are as many recipes for Sauerbraten as there are cooks in the German-speaking lands. This recipe comes from the Spree Forest Region, and unlike most Sauerbraten recipes, this one does not call for vinegar! German cooks use “soup greens” to flavor many soups and stews, too!

1 beef roast

Bacon for wrapping

1 bunch soup greens (Leek, carrots, celery and parsley)

Mushrooms, dried

Wine, red or white

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. peppercorns

1 tsp. salt

2 pinches pepper

1/2 tsp. lemon peel, grated

Basil, tarragon to taste

1 onion, chopped

Cornstarch to thicken

Rub the meat with the seasons and than wrap the bacon around meat. Put into a glass bowl; add bay leaf and peppercorns, smashed and pour the wine all over it. Put something heavy on top of meat, it MUST be covered with wine at all times. Let stand for about two to five days in a cool place. Take meat out of the marinade and dry. Fry in very hot fat on all sides until good and brown. Add the cleaned and chopped soup greens and the mushrooms. (If you like also one finely chopped onion). Add some of the marinade, just as much as needed. After two hours the meat is done, take it out and slice thinly and keep warm. Bind the gravy with some cornstarch and serve with potatoes or dumplings.

Sauerbraten in Crockpot

Richard’s Note: This easy recipe has all the wonderful flavor without the wait of marinating!

1 cup onions, chopped

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup cider vinegar

15 ginger snaps

2 Tbs. brown sugar

2 Tbs. chopped parsley,

2 lbs. beef roast, cubed...

Spray cooker with no stick spray, combine ingredients except ginger snaps and brown sugar and parsley. Cook on low seven to nine hours. 15 minutes before serving stir in the crushed gingersnaps and brown sugar. Cook 15 minutes more until thick. Before serving, sprinkle with parsley.

German Style Pork Chops

Note: Any good brown mustard would work well in this recipe.

6 pork loin chops, cut 1 & 1/2-inch thick

2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 cups apple cider

OR

2 cups apple juice

1/3 cup Viennese or German-style mustard

3 apples, unpared, cored, and sliced 1/2-inch-thick

1/2 cup currants

OR

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup sliced green onions

2 Tbs. cornstarch

1/4 cup water

Heat oil in large skillet. Brown pork chops over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Combine apple cider and mustard; pour over pork chops. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 45 minutes. Add apples, currants and green onions. Cover; cook five to 10 minutes longer. Place pork chops and apples on serving platter; keep warm. Gradually stir combined cornstarch and water into cider liquid. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops and apples.

Pork Chops and Red Cabbage

6 center loin pork chops, cut 1/2-inch thick

2 tsp. oil

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. dried sage and thyme leaves

1/8 tsp. pepper

2/3 cup water

2 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces

4 cups red cabbage, coarsely shredded

1 cup onion slices

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced pears

Heat oil in large skillet. Brown pork chops over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt, sage, thyme and pepper. Add water. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 50 to 60 minutes or until pork chops are tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in Dutch oven until crisp. Add cabbage and onions. Cook and stir over medium heat five minutes. Add one-half cup water, vinegar and brown sugar; mix well. Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Add pears; bring to a boil. Serve pork chops on top of cabbage.

German Brats

NOTE: ALWAYS be sure to remove bay leaves after cooking and before serving any food. Bay leaves present a choking hazard.

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (32 oz.) can sauerkraut, rinsed then dried

2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine

OR

1/2 cup apple juice

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 tsp. instant chicken bouillon granules

1 tsp. caraway seed

1 bay leaf

1 lb. bratwurst (5 links)

1 large apple, cored and sliced

In a large skillet cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Reserve two tablespoons drippings in skillet. Cook onion and garlic in reserved drippings over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sauerkraut, potatoes, water, white wine or apple juice, brown sugar, bouillon granules, caraway seed, and bay leaf. Add up to one-half cup more water, if necessary, to cover potatoes. Bring to boiling. Score bratwurst; add to sauerkraut mixture and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced apple; cover and cook for five to 10 minutes more or until apples are just tender. Remove bay leaf.

Bavarian Chops

4 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick

2 Tbs. flour

1 tsp. butter

1/2 cup chopped green onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tsp. thyme

8 oz. beer, room temperature

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Buttered noodles (optional)

Minced fresh parsley (optional)

Lightly flour chops. Melt butter in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Brown chops quickly on both sides. Remove, reserve. Add green onion, garlic, mushrooms and thyme and sauté an additional minute. Return chops to skillet, add beer; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer seven to eight minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with noodles, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Chilled Marinated Cucumbers

Ricahrd’s Note: I think this side dish goes with everything!

2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced very thin

1 large onion, sliced very thin

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. salt

Place cucumbers and onions in a non-metal bowl. Combine one-half cup water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour over vegetables. Chill. Store covered.